The Weird Workplace

Wacky headlines from the world of human resources
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/14/2016

FEATHERY FLIGHT ATTENDANT

NORTH CAROLINA — Usually it’s flight attendants who trundle up and down the aisle, but on a recent flight from Charlotte to Asheville, N.C., travellers were surprised to see a feathered friend waddling by — Daniel the duck. Wearing red “shoes” and a Captain America diaper, Daniel Turducken Stinkerbutt is a four-and-a-half-year-old Indian Runner duck who’s also an emotional support animal for Carla Fitzgerald, according to the Washington Post. A former horse-and-carriage driver in Milwaukee, Fitzgerald adopted Daniel in 2012 and about a year later, was involved in a serious car accident. She was immobile for months and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but found the duck was responsive to her needs. So she took him on the flight — and he quickly became a celebrity of sorts thanks to tweets, with photos and a video, by passenger Mark Essig. “I heard a few maybe semi-critical mutterings, like ‘Now I’ve seen everything,’” said Essig. “But most everybody was delighted to have a duck on a plane. As they should be.” Afterwards, the crew posed for a picture with Daniel.

VACATED IN VANCOUVER

VANCOUVER — Another recent flight didn’t go nearly as well when a British Airways plane flying from San Francisco to London had to be rerouted to Vancouver for an emergency landing. Twenty-two cabin crew members and three pilots immediately disboarded and went to three local hospitals — but were released shortly after, according to the CBC. “The captain came on and said there was some minor technical difficulties and we were diverting to Calgary instead of London,” said passenger Jaakko Virtanan. “I didn’t smell any smoke… I just smelled the roast beef or whatever that I didn’t get, because they stopped serving dinner at that point.” It’s unclear what happened on the Airbus 380 but making that kind of landing with such a big plane suggests a major problem, said one expert.

INEBRIATED INVESTIGATION

BRAZIL — Having to investigate a dead body as a forensic expert is, no doubt, an unpleasant job. But falling on top of your corpse is probably not the best way to go about it. Unfortunately, that’s what happened recently in Brazil when an apparently drunk investigator approached a body lying in a sandy hole. The man stumbled toward the corpse and knelt down to examine the body but ended up falling face-down on top of it, according to the New York Post. A video of the incident shows a large crowd laughing at the scene, as a military officer tries to help by grabbing the forensic expert by his belt to pull him back up. The investigator managed to stand up and then tried to pull the dead person out of the hole by their legs — but ended up falling backwards into the sand.

NOT SO TRUE-TO-LIFE

LONDON — While he might have impressed both book and movie fans for decades, James Bond would not get a job as a British spy, according to Alex Younger, head of the U.K.’s external intelligence agency MI6. Real spies have to cope with complex moral and physical challenges in forbidding environments, he said, and 007 lacks a strong ethical core, according to Reuters. “It’s safe to say that James Bond wouldn’t get through our recruitment process,” said Younger. “An intelligence officer in the real MI6 has a high degree of emotional intelligence, values teamwork and always has respect for the law — unlike Mr. Bond.”

TIPSY TO THE RESCUE

BERN, SWITZERLAND — An alcohol ban for volunteer firefighters and other emergency workers using heavy vehicles in Switzerland has been lifted because of staffing shortages, especially during crises in smaller towns. As of Jan. 1, slightly tipsy firefighters and off-duty members of professional “blue light” organizations responding to urgent situations will no longer face punishment — as long as their blood-alcohol level does not exceed 0.50 per cent, according to Reuters. “With the ban, theoretically, it would have been impossible for somebody enjoying even a nice glass of red wine during the Christmas holidays to fulfill their duty in the event of an emergency,” said Peter Wullschleger, a Zurich emergency services commander. 

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